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Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery - Preston receives Operational Excellence Award

9/6/2019 12:27:58 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 6, 2019

Media Contact:
Anne Sonnee
(651) 757-1536
(651) 263-2640 cell
anne.sonnee@state.mn.us


Preston, Minn. – /mdva/memorials/stateveteranscemeteries/minnesota-state-veterans-cemetery-preston.jspThe Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery - Preston has received the Operational Excellence Award from the National Cemetery Administration (NCA), a division of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. This award follows a recent NCA National Cemetery Compliance Review that resulted in a score of 98 percent, among the highest scores in the nation. The compliance review examines 93 standards to ensure the best possible experience for families of Veterans interred at the cemeteries.

On Friday, September 6, Glenn Powers, Deputy Under Secretary for Field Programs and Cemetery Operations, National Cemetery Administration, traveled from Washington, D.C. to present the award, stating: “ Why is this cemetery important? We believe that no Veteran ever dies because they have two deaths: one when the last breath leaves their body, and the second when no one mentions their name again. This cemetery ensures that our Veterans are never forgotten.”

Powers added: “Through the joint efforts of Federal, State, County and Local governments, the vision for this cemetery became a reality. It’s not only one of the most beautiful State Veterans Cemeteries in the country, but it’s also one of the best operationally.”

“We are very proud of these results and our cemetery team that works so hard to make the MNSVC – Preston a national shrine,” said David Swantek, Senior Administrator of Memorial Affairs. “This is confirmation that this is one of the finest Veterans Cemeteries in the Nation.”

During the July National Cemetery Administration’s 2019 Veterans Cemetery Grants Compliance Review, the Preston Cemetery received 91 out of 93 possible points for overall quality performance in categories such as Interment Operations, Grounds Maintenance, Headstone, Marker and Niche Cover, Equipment Maintenance, and Other Standards.

In arguably the most challenging category, Gravesite Assessment Review, the Preston team received an outstanding 100 percent accuracy score, indicating that all headstones were inspected at the desired angle of 90° and followed correct height measurements.

The rating comes as a testament to the hard work and dedication shown each day by the Preston Cemetery team, something that was echoed by Robert Gross, Preston Cemetery Administrator. “Congrats to the team, because without you and your hard work, this would not happen, and to our many community partners, honor teams, Memorial Rifle Squads, our sister locations, local county and cities, our leadership, and to the Department!” he stated. “A very special thank you to the families for putting their trust in our team and the State Cemetery Program. These grounds are a shrine and are sacred.”

The 169-acre Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery - Preston opened on Veterans Day, November 11, 2015. The land was donated by Fillmore County and the funding was a collaborative effort by Federal, State, County and local governments.

This commitment to excellence is demonstrated throughout the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, where the service and sacrifice of Minnesota’s Veterans is honored with dignity and respect. In addition to the Preston location, Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries are located in /mdva/memorials/stateveteranscemeteries/minnesota-state-veterans-cemetery-little-falls.jspLittle Falls and /mdva/memorials/stateveteranscemeteries/minnesota-state-veterans-cemetery-duluth.jspDuluth. The Duluth location will hold its dedication event on Saturday, September 21.

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About MDVA
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) is a cabinet-level state agency dedicated to serving Minnesota Veterans and their families. In addition to overseeing the five State Veterans Homes, MDVA helps eligible Veterans and families secure state and federal benefits and provides programs and services relating to higher education, benefits, burial, claims, outreach and Veterans employment. Veterans and their families are encouraged to visit www.MinnesotaVeteran.org or call 1-(888)-LinkVet for more information about benefits.

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